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Sep 21 2011   12:54PM GMT

Why You Should Hire a Social Media Expert

JaninePopick Profile: JaninePopick

About three years ago, I was convinced to hire a person dedicated to social media. We had a few folks internally posting to their own Facebook and Twitter accounts and when time permitted I’d post to my own networks as well. We had a community that was a small part of someone’s job when they had time, and we had been blogging since 2005. So, it wasn’t like we didn’t believe in social media before we hired someone; we were just a bit disjointed in terms of how it was being managed.

Our marketing coordinator at the time saw the need for a social media expert, justified it and presented it to me. She knew there would be metrics to track and she was willing and able to take on the chore, as long as the company backed the idea.

I rolled with it. What could we lose? The first mission was to consolidate a lot of what we were doing in a one-off fashion. We started to consciously build a Twitter and Facebook following to see the types of engagement we’d get. And we’ve had really great luck with our social media since we focused a person on the tasks.

Now we look at it as a communications channel just like our website, our PR and our outbound customer communications. It’s important that we have one person with one voice communicating the “real-time” content.

I’ll list a few ways in which having a social media expert has helped our growth as well as customer service.

An online community. We used the platform Ning and rolled out our community under the wings of our social media manager. We’re trying to build it into a community destination where people help each other.

Our Facebook Page. Our social media manager places customer stories, fun internal pictures, sales, and tips and tricks on our Page.

Twitter. Our social media manager uses HootSuite to manage outbound tweets and distribute customer questions to the proper customer support person to answer. We also use HootSuite to monitor what people say about VerticalResponse so we can reply in a timely fashion. I use TweetDeck to give me a quick snapshot of the same. We also have a separate customer service Twitter channel that our customer service team monitors, and they too proactively tweet tips and tricks to those who follow.

Reporting. We track what everyone says about us, myself, our competition and the exact sentiment of all those things using a software called Radian6. We also use Google Alerts to do the same.

Our social media manager does much, much more than this, but if you’ve got this much going on with your social media channels, it may be just the right time to bring it under one roof.

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